Rivervale's Top Tips To Boost Your Fuel Economy
Car manufacturers are continuously working to increase the efficiency of their engines. The main purpose of this is to reduce emissions, but it has the added bonus of meaning we all get a few more miles per gallon! It’s not only car manufacturers who have the power to increase fuel efficiency there are a few simple steps as drivers we can all take to ensure we are getting the most out of every penny we spend at the pumps.
Here are Rivervale’s top tips to maximising your fuel economy …
- Watch your speed! There are so many safety reasons to be travelling within the advertised speed limit, fuel economy is another one to add to that list. If you are travelling at 70 mph you are using 9% more fuel than if you stuck to 60mph and 15% more fuel than if you cruised along at 50mph. Motorways are the easiest roads to let your speed climb, just keep in mind at 80 mph you are using 25% more fuel than if you travelled at the 70 mph speed limit, so maybe it’s time to ease up on that right foot?
- Get your car serviced. It’s really easy to assume that, as long as your car is driving ok and none of the warning lights have come on, that service could probably be missed. This could be a costly mistake. Your car can only provide you with its maximum mpg if you make sure its engine is in optimal condition. For example, if you have old oil in your car it will degrade over time. This means it will not be lubricating your engine as well as it used to, creating more friction within the engine. More friction = more work for your engine to do, More work = more fuel!
- Check your tyre pressures. Underinflated tyres will cause more rolling resistance, causing your car to work harder to move, this uses up more fuel reducing fuel economy by up to 2%. Air is usually provided free or for a small charge at most petrol stations. Your recommended pressure can normally be found either in your handbook or on the inside of the driver’s door.
- Empty your boot. Items in your car that are not needed are just adding more weight to your vehicle. Often our cars end up being a dumping ground for all kinds of random objects, children’s toys and spare pairs of shoes, get them all out! The heavier the load the more fuel will be needed to move it!
- Don’t stop! Well, within reason! Try to keep your vehicle in motion as this uses less fuel than coming to a complete stop and moving off again. This requires a little practice to get into the habit but can easily be achieved by reacting to the road ahead. When you see a queue of traffic ease of the accelerator well in time and the queue may be moving by the time you get there!
- Pay attention to your rev counter. The optimal range is between 1500-2500 rpm. Anything above or below that range will be using up extra fuel. If you have a newer vehicle it is likely you have a gear shift indicator to let you know that best time to be changing gear.
- Reduce wind resistance. Anything on the outside of your car that could cause drag will mean your vehicle has to use more fuel as it’s working harder to keep moving. So you need to decide if you really need that roof rack? Driving with your windows open at high speed will also create a source of drag – perhaps take off that jumper instead?!
- Air conditioning. Many driver’s leave their air conditioning on all winter, simply because they forget about it, but if you don’t need it – turn it off! Air conditioning will be using up your fuel particularly at lower speeds when the engine is working harder to keep up with demand. So at low speeds you could open the windows as this will have only a small effect on drag, and at high speeds turn on the air conditioning. At a higher speed the engine can better cope with the energy required to power the air conditioning and closing the windows will reduce wind resistance!
- Turn off the electrical components. There are so many features that need electricity on our cars. The more we are using the more fuel is being used to keep them all powered. As handy as they are do you need them all on? We have windscreen demisters, fans to keep us toasty warm and if driving conditions mean you don’t need your headlights on – turn them off!
- Choose your next car wisely. Car manufacturers work hard to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency, so make sure you research which cars are going to give you the most miles per gallon before you buy your next vehicle.
Here are our top picks of fuel efficient vehicles …
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The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.
25 September 2015
Written by Natalie Faughy